Kenya mourns the loss of marathon champion Kelvin Kiptum


Kenyan politicians and sports leaders gathered on Friday for a funeral service honoring the life of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum, who tragically passed away in a road accident last Sunday.

President William Ruto graced the ceremony held in Kenya’s Elgeyo Marakwet county, accompanied by his Deputy President, Rigathi Gachagua, and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi.

Kiptum, aged 24, along with his coach Gervais Hakizimana, lost their lives at the scene of the crash outside Eldoret in the Rift Valley, according to the police.

Leading the ceremony was Kiptum’s widow, Asenath Cheruto, who delivered a poignant speech in tribute to her late husband.

“My beloved, bidding you farewell seems impossible. With trembling hands and a heavy heart. It’s unfathomable that I must now face our precious children without your return. I mourn deeply, my love,” Cheruto expressed tearfully.

She lamented the missed opportunity of celebrating their wedding ceremony, which was slated for April this year.

“We had big plans for our special day, to exchange vows in a joyous celebration in April 2024, but the plans of the Almighty prevail,” shared Cheruto, who had been officially married to Kiptum for several years. “Even in your rest, I will pledge my eternal love.”

Representing Kiptum’s two children, a family spokesperson read a brief tribute.

“Dearest Dad, your absence is still incomprehensible. We will forever cherish and miss you. Your departure has left a chasm in our lives, and life will never be the same. You will always reside in our hearts (…) we love you, Daddy,” conveyed the children’s message.

Sebastian Coe, President of World Athletics, also expressed his sorrow and lamented the loss of witnessing Kiptum’s potential “greater feats.”

“The premature end of a young life, especially in such tragic circumstances, is profoundly sorrowful. To see a young life, which had achieved so much in so little time, denied the chance for even greater accomplishments, is deeply saddening,” articulated Coe, emphasizing that “Kelvin would have contributed more to the illustrious history of Kenyan and world athletics.”

“There are few words that can alleviate the pain and grief today. For Kelvin’s family, fellow athletes, and the multitude of friends within and beyond athletics … However, I speak on behalf of the global athletics community,” Coe continued.

“Kelvin, your absence is felt deeply. It will take time to heal from our grief and sadness. But know this, your achievements are cherished, immortal, and etched in the annals of our history, never to be forgotten,” he concluded.

Jackson Tuwei, President of Athletics Kenya, announced the establishment of the Kelvin Kiptum Foundation by Golazo, a company specializing in athlete management. The foundation, he said, “will primarily focus on providing ongoing financial support for education and infrastructure.”